Should a Chemo Patient Shave the Hair Off and If So, When?

I hope the photo below doesn’t scare anyone away! It was actually taken a few weeks ago when I had MORE hair.

This past Tuesday I completed round 7 of chemo. It’s hard to believe I have made it this far. When I started chemo back in July, October seemed sooo far away and now here it is. Fall has always been my favorite season and this year I am loving it even more because it’s when chemo ends!

Before beginning chemo, my husband and I signed up for a chemo class at the hospital where I would be receiving it. We already knew quite a bit about chemo since my mother had it a couple of years ago, but when you are going to be having it yourself, suddenly you can never know too much about it.

At the class we received a packet full of information, watched a video and listened to a chemo nurse talk a bit about what to expect. Surprisingly, to me at least, somewhere in there she looked at me and said, “Nancy with the drugs you will be receiving you will definitely be losing your hair.”

I know she meant well and was only trying to prepare me, but the comment was unexpected and I felt unnecessary. I mean is there really anyone on the planet who doesn’t understand that chemo usually equals hair loss? “Yes, I am totally aware of that,” I managed to answer as if it would be no big deal to lose my hair.

Anyway, here I am post chemo session 7 and I still have some hair on my head! Granted, it’s not much, but there’s still some there. If  you saw the fairly recent Leonardo D’Caprio movie Shutter Island, I look like the creepy crazy woman with thin hair standing in the flower garden at the beginning of the movie when he arrives on the island. If you saw the movie and have had chemo, you know exactly who I’m talking about. I think there’s a message in there somewhere that if you have thin hair you are scary looking and I don’t think I like that message very much, but that’s a topic for another time.

Most chemo patients shave their heads as soon as hair loss begins or even before. It makes them feel more in control they say. Not me. I’ve hung onto my hair as long as possible. I lamented when it began to fall out in clumps and I still carefully pluck off strands from the back of my clothes as if saying goodbye to old friends. Don’t get me wrong, I have adjusted to having almost no hair amazingly well. I even walk around the house now without wearing anything on my head. My husband just laughs and says, “Oh, I got used to that a long time ago.” And my kids don’t care. Neither do the dogs. In fact, the dogs get more nervous, eying me suspiciously for a few moments, whenever I put a wig on. They truly don’t miss a thing; they totally know it’s fake hair and that I look slightly different. They prefer my “natural” look.

Does not shaving my hair off like most chemo patients make me weak, vain or just plain weird? Am I unable to face reality? Or did my defiant rebellious side kick in that day at chemo class? I don’t know or care.

I do know that when I am totally finished with chemo, I will shave off any remaining hair on my head so I can start over from scratch. Otherwise I’ll end up with some freakish mish-mash of length, color and texture that even I am not willing to deal with.

I guess the point of all this rambling is that you can and should do what you want about shaving your head. Shave it all off early or let it fall out slowly. You decide. It’s your hair, it’s your cancer and it’s your decision.

If you have had chemo, did you shave your head as soon as hair loss began? (or if you know someone who has had chemo, what did they do?)

Note: More information about chemotherapy is available in my ebook “Getting past the fear: A guide to help you mentally prepare for chemotherapy.”

 

99 comments


  • Marie Ennis-O'Connor

    October 7, 2010

    Hi Nancy, you know the first point I would like to make is that we are all different in our approach to cancer and its treatment – what works for one person may not work for another. Like you, I didn’t shave my hair in anticipation of losing it, but looking back on it now, if I had to do it again, I would shave my hair. You have had 7 sessions of chemo before confronting this, so I can understand why you wouldn’t shave it off, if you managed to hold on this long. Ten days after my first dose of chemotherapy, my hair started coming out. It was New Year’s Eve and I was in the shower washing my hair, getting ready for the night ahead and I wasn’t quite ready for the shock of chunks of hair coming away in my hands as I shampooed.
    It is easier to mourn the loss of hair in one sharp shock than to do it on a daily basis. A fact I wish I had realised at the time with my rapidly diminishing sparse hairs hanging on for dear life. I was like a shaggy dog shedding hair everywhere I went!
    Eventually it did all fall out, but I found the experience of losing it bit by bit distressing and in hindsight think I would have been better shaving my head in the first place. I guess I wasn’t quite ready to face the reality of it which is why I didn’t!

    • Nancy

      October 7, 2010

      Marie, Thanks for coming to my blog and commenting. I guess the whole point of this post is what you say in your comment, that we are all different in how we approach cancer. Everyone handles the stresses of diagnosis, treatment, side effects and getting on with life differently. Each person must find what works best for them. For me, it would not have been easier to mourn the loss of hair in one sharp shock. At least that’s what I think today. That too could change.

    • Ava

      January 23, 2011

      What I did was cut my hair into a cute short style before chemo then three weeks after my first treatment when it started coming out then I cropped it really short. Then found a wig and a week or so after that shaved it and slapped on a real cute wig. I am looking for a place to find out the longest living person who has gone throughout chemo. Uterine cancer diagnosed April 23 radical hysterectomy may 18th chemo and radiation complete October 26. I don’t know much about blogging I hope this is ok

      • Nancy

        January 23, 2011

        Ava, Thanks for reading this older post and commenting. I appreciate getting feedback on any post at any time. Sounds like you had a plan in place for how to deal with the hair issue. As for finding the oldest person who has gone through chemo, I don’t know how you’d find out about that. Or did you mean the person who has survived the longest following chemo? Would be interesting data.

  • WhiteStone

    October 7, 2010

    Hi, Nancy,
    I have ovarian cancer and I’ve been through the hair loss twice now. Currently it is growing back ever so slowly! Even tho it is a good quarter inch long it lies totally flat. If it progresses the same way as last time, it will soon begin to spiral into curls.

    I shaved it both times. This second time I suppose a few hairs may have stayed throughout the chemo but they were so sparse (and white) that I shaved.

    Actually…I got so I liked how easy it was to shower. And sorta envy the guys who wear buzz cuts or who shave their heads. LOL

    • Nancy

      October 7, 2010

      WhiteStone, Thanks for stopping by my blog. I’m always thrilled to see somebody new. Thanks for taking time to comment too. Chemo two times seems like too much to ask of anyone. You are amazing for staying so positive. I’ll check out your blog to get some tips!

  • Lindsay

    October 7, 2010

    Good for you for posting a picture of your “skullet.” :) Thank goodness, only one more round to go! I am counting the days for you!!

    Interesting observation about the lady from the movie Shutter Island.

    • Nancy

      October 7, 2010

      Lindsay, Yes, it’s quite the lovely photo isn’t it? Have you seen Shutter Island? When or if you do, look for the crazy woman with thin hair!

  • Teresa

    October 8, 2010

    I shaved my head on day 15 after chemo round one–and that happened to fall on a Friday the 13th. 1 stiff martini and my hairdresser (who came to my house) buzzed it off. To me, it was liberating. I didn’t want to keep worrying about when it would happen (and my oncologist said “100% guaranteed your hair will fall out”; I’m a lawyer so I know how hard it is to get a doctor to say 100% guaranteed! Initially, I was a little put off by that too. But when the time came, those were the words I remembered and it made the shaving much easier.)
    For me, because I was still very much working and with clients all day long I kept envisioning chunks of hair falling out all over the conference table or things like that and I hated worrying about aht. The control of “today is the day” and having a weekend to get used to the new me before heading back into the office were important to me. And like one of the commenters before me–I really liked how quickly I could get ready in the morning.

    Fact is, there’s no correct answer to any of this!

    • Nancy

      October 10, 2010

      You are right, Teresa, there is no correct way to handle any of this stuff. That must have been quite the Friday the 13th for you! Nice hairdresser to come to your house too.

  • Tracy

    October 9, 2010

    I don’t think there’s any such thing as “should” when it comes to chemo! You just do whatever works for you. See to your own comfort, and let other people worry about theirs. The shave can be empowering, but there’s also something empowering about you keeping whatever hair you can – it’s yours, and chemo may take some or all of it but you don’t have to surrender it voluntarily!

    I did shave. I donated 19 inches of my hip-length hair a week before I started chemo, and then shaved the rest off as soon as it started falling out. Surprisingly, I actually kind of like the way I look bald. At this point (4 rounds of A/C and 5 rounds of Taxol down, 7 Taxol to go) I’m a lot more bothered by the sparse eyebrows and eyelashes. I hope they don’t entirely disappear.

    • Nancy

      October 10, 2010

      Tracy, Good for you for donating all that hair! I looked at the picture of it on your blog site before you cut it. I agree, losing the eyebrows and eyelashes now seems worse. Mine are thinning, but hanging on! Thanks for visiting my blog and commenting, hope you’ll be back.

  • Betty Nelson

    October 10, 2010

    I was with my sister when she had her hair shaved off. I held her hand and when she started crying, so did I. The beautiation was a friend of hers, so that really helped my sister. It was a very hard day. On the orher hand, when my daughter’s friend started losing her hair, she had a shaving head party, complete with cocktails and posted the pictures. So I agree: there is no “right” way, just your own way. Betty, cancer survivor for 11 years.

    • Nancy

      October 11, 2010

      Thanks for your comments, Betty. Congratulations on being a cancer survivor for 11 years!!

  • Catherine.

    October 11, 2010

    Hi Nancy,
    For me I shaved my hair all off before my first round of Chemo. My 9yr old daughter had a big problem with me losing all my hair and I was horrified at the thought of losing all my hair. To help my little girl deal with it I let her cut my hair and she had great fun doing it then I shaved the rest off. You not shaving your hair off before Chemo does not make you weird or anything else. It is a choice thing for everyone and do whats best for you. xx

    • Nancy

      October 11, 2010

      Catherine, Thanks for coming back to my blog and commenting. I really like the way you handled this, letting your daughter be a part of it. That was really a good idea and proabably helped her a lot. Plus, focusing on her probably really helped you. Thanks for not thinking I’m weird!

    • Juane

      December 10, 2012

      Hi Catherine, I am still waiting for the OncoDX results, and unfortunately I will only know the morning before my first chemo if I need to go. So I have decided to make my appointment for my hair the afternoon after the chemo. Hopefully it will not be necessary.

      Juane

  • debby

    October 12, 2010

    The hair was a big one for me. I tried to pick out a wig at a store, but it was so embarrassing, so I left. I cried my eyes out, and my husband measured my head for a wig, and we ordered on online. He called my Brother in law who lent us their clippers, and he said that he would cut my hair when it was time. My hair began to fall out the day before Thanksgiving. I hung on to it for one more day, and then Thanksgiving morning, I got up and cut it myself. I was afraid of hair getting into the food. It was the practical thing to do, and it did was not so difficult as I thought that it would be. It is what it is.

    • Nancy

      October 12, 2010

      Debby, Thanks for returning and commenting. I really appreciate it. Losing the hair is sooo big. Why women are so hair focused is somewhat of a mystery. I agree wig shopping is really tough, but my husband and I did find a really great store and salesclerk which really helped.

  • Katie

    October 20, 2010

    I agree with the people above — there’s no right answer. When I found out I was heading for chemo, I got my hair cut really short. The docs said that I would lose my hair 17 days after my first chemo and sure enough, I was shedding pretty heavily on the morning of the 17th day. For me, it was easier to just shave it off. It was really itchy, so for the next week I used one of those sticky peel off lint rollers on my head. Surreal, fo sho, but it worked!

    Katie

    • Nancy

      October 21, 2010

      Katie, Thanks for your comments. I really appreciate getting them. I’ve never heard about using a lint roller on the head before! Was that for the itching??

  • Sami

    November 4, 2010

    Your Shutter Island comment made me literally laugh out loud. I think it was a combination of the hair aaand the fact that her eyes were bugging out of her head and she was making the ‘shhh….’ gesture with her finger that made her creepy! Haha. Too funny.

    When my mom started losing her hair, she couldn’t stand the itching. She and her friend went to a local place where they make wigs and had them shave her head. When she came home and saw us for the first time, she was bawling. That was one of the hardest days during her chemo treatments for me. She just stared in front of the mirror sobbing. Eventually, she ditched the wig and scarfs and embraced her nice bald head. She loved the feeling of it when it started growing back– you’re in store for some baby soft locks, my friend!

    • Nancy

      November 4, 2010

      Sami, Glad you understood the Shutter Island connection and got a laugh from it. I totally understand how hard it was for you to see your mother lose her hair and witness how difficult a time she had with that at first. It is amazing how we do adjust to being hairless so quickly though. When my mom lost her hair, she was really upset over it as well at first and she was 78. Our hair is such a part of who we are, so it’s hard to lose that part of our identity. I am looking forward to that new growth! Thanks for your comments!

  • Lois Pervier

    November 11, 2010

    Came here looking for advice… finished round one of chemo and the hair is coming out. I think I want to buzz cut it off, don’t like the idea of bald spots etc… Someone said I should not shave it as it affects how it grows back??? Saw a woman with a nice totally bald head yesterday and she looked just beautiful! Not sure I have one of those heads or not… I think it is time…
    Thanks for all the postings, gives me courage and lets me know I am not alone out here.

    • Nancy

      November 11, 2010

      Lois, Thank you so much for reading and taking time to comment as well. I am thrilled to hear my postings have been a small help to you. Good luck to you during your chemo and beyond. You, too, will make it through that ordeal. You should do what you feel is right for you about the hair. If you think it’s time… go for it, shave it off. Also, you are definitely NOT alone in this.

  • karen

    November 25, 2010

    i shaved week after first cemo fec.

    i chose when i lost it and how. i feel more like me without a wig also
    all down to how we each cope xxx

    • Nancy

      November 26, 2010

      Karen, Thanks for your comments. Yes, I agree it all comes down to how each of us chooses to cope. For me, waiting to shave it off worked out great because I kept a little hair which was nice under a cap.

  • Linda

    January 27, 2011

    I have a friend who will be losing her hair from radiation for a tumor in her head. I thought maybe I should cut my hair short in support of her. Then I worried if I do, my new short hair could remind her of her sickness when she sees me and then thought maybe not? Any thoughts?

    • Nancy

      January 28, 2011

      Linda, Thanks for wanting my opinion on this! You know, the hair thing is so personal and everyone feels so differently. I guess my advice would be to follow your heart. If you think it would help your friend even a little I’d say, do it. Plus, it might help YOU and your feelings are important in her cancer experience too. My youngest son shaved his hair off twice for me and I was touched by it. We took lots of pictures to share later and so he would know how much I appreciated it. Of course, he has lots of hair again already, me not so much! Let me know what you decide and how it turns out. I’m really curious to know. One more thing, I don’t think you have to worry about reminding your friend about her sickness. Believe me, it’s always on her mind.

  • Jess. :)

    February 7, 2011

    I went through chemo for a blood disorder two years ago right after I turned 17. A hair cut before I started chemo would have been a good idea for me. Anyway, I have been done with chemo for over a year now and my hair is probably eight inches long. The problem is: my hair looks like the “skullet” in the picture above. For some reason my hair is not growing in all over my head and my scalp is totally visible beneath my hair.
    I have heard of people who say that they have shaved their heads and had their hair grow back better the second time, but I have not actually met anyone who did this and am still contemplating whether or not to take this measure. Does anyone have any ideas or experience with this?
    I know I will never experience being a “normal” teenager but normal hair would be nice. I just don’t like being stared at in public whenever I dont wear a hat or bandana. I dont mean to sound superficial; after all, I’m happy to have lived long enough to experience this issue.

    • Nancy

      February 7, 2011

      Jess, Thank you for your comments. You do not sound superficial! The hair thing is such a huge issue for any female regardless of her age. I have heard one’s hair grows back better if you shave it all off first too. I do not know if this is actually true. I shaved mine off in early November and it is coming back in all over, but really slowly. I think it is all very individual and there are no guarantees no matter what you do. Have you asked your doctors about this? When I had my “skullet,” I wore a cap which worked well since a little hair hung out below it. Sorry I can’t give a better answer. Good luck and let me know how things go.

    • sandra herrera

      June 26, 2011

      so you did’nt shave do you think if you had shaved would have made a difference?

  • chris

    March 7, 2011

    I just finished 2 different kinds of chemo treatment for lung cancer. The 1st one started in October, the 2nd in January. The Dr. said I would lose my hair after the 1st treatment, so I had my hair cut to about one inch all over, and bought a wig. My hair is just now starting to thin out, but does not come out in clumps. I had VERY
    thick hair. Do you think I will lose it all
    and have my head shaved?

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2011

      Chris, I wish I had answers for you. As you know, chemo affects everyone differently, so I do not know if you will lose all your hair or not. I didn’t, some hung on at the back of my head which was perfect. I wore a cap and had a little hair that hung below it. I also purchased two wigs to wear when I wanted a bit more confidence when going out. My wigs helped me with that. When I was totally finished with chemo, I finally shaved all my hair off so I could completely start over. It is only now coming back in and it’s been four months. I’m envious of your thick hair! It will probably return that way. Good luck and keep me posted on how you are doing. Thanks for commenting on this. I really appreciate hearing your thoughts.

  • sandra herrera

    June 26, 2011

    i read what you ladies had to say. I would like to know if its better to shave your head or leave it .Does it make a difference when it grows back? I did’nt shave but now i’m wondering if i should. HELP just finished chemo

    • Nancy

      June 27, 2011

      Sandra, This is a very personal decision; there are no ‘right’ answers here. I decided to wait until I finished chemo before shaving my head. This worked out pretty well for me. I didn’t lose all of my hair during chemo and for some reason keeping some that still showed from the back while I wore a baseball cap helped me psychologically. Most people do shave their hair off I think as soon as it begins to fall out. I chose not to. Since my hair was so thin following chemo, I did want to start over, so to speak, and shaved it off at that time. I think the hair grows back differently for everyone as well. Mine is returning very slowly. Very slowly. But it is returning. Good luck to you. Let me know what you decide to do.

  • Ramona

    August 11, 2011

    Thank you Nancy for sharing your experience. I am struggling with whether to shave now or wait and see. My hair started shedding a few days ago. It is messy but Im hoping it might stop. I have along way to go with my chemo though. 4 rounds of taxol down and 8 to go then 4 rounds of FEC. I am thankful to find info on the internet to know other people are having similar feelings.

    • Nancy

      August 11, 2011

      Ramona, Thank you so much for commenting and you are certainly not alone in your struggles. I really struggled with the “to shave or not to shave” hair dilemma. I guess I got a bit rebellious! I am still waiting for my hair to come back in “properly.” If you have any questions, feel free to email me. I’m here to help! I care. Good luck and remember do what’s right for YOU! Sadly, the hair shedding probably won’t stop, but intensify. One thing I will not say to you is, “It’s only your hair and it will grow back.” I never liked hearing that!

  • Nancy L

    September 17, 2011

    First, I was so surprised when I realized that “lose your hair” meant losing ALL of your hair! Arms, legs, pubic area, eyebrows and lashes and NOSE hair! Wow! I had just enough of my eyebrows and lashes to keep me from looking like a Cabbage Patch doll.

    I did cut off my most of my hair before I began treatment. In order to help myself and my co-workers adapt, first I cut my hair down to about 1 inch. Then I my hairstylist cut it to 1/2 inch. Finally, after I began treatment I asked my husband to shave it off.

    I bought a wig but half-way home, I took it off and never wore it again. It was hot and itchy and I felt I had enough to deal with without adding more stress.

    So I wore hats everywhere except at home. I bought many hats and had fun with them.

    I wore them to work but once I got to my desk I would take my hat off. One time my supervisor stopped at my desk and told me to put my hat back on. I pointed at a bald co-worker and told her I would wear it at my desk as soon as he put a hat on. I never heard another word about it.

    My advise is remember that you are not defined by your hair. If you feel more in control by shaving it, then do it. If you want to keep it a little longer, do that. Just remember that the essence of you does not reside in your hair.

    PS It took 3 showers before I realized that I did not need to use shampoo on my bald head. &-)

    • Nancy

      September 17, 2011

      Nancy, Yes, I know what you mean about all that hair loss. I never could figure out why my nose was constantly “running” and then I realized all those little nose hairs were gone too! They aren’t all back yet either and I’m still waiting for my eye lashes to return. And my brows to thicken. And the hair on my head to look decent. Well, you get the picture! Hair is just hair, but still… Thanks for your great comments! Hope you’ll return soon.

  • Teresa

    October 6, 2011

    I am not sure if I should even include my self on this blog but here goes. I have always had thin hair; however, in April of this year I was diagnosed with stage 3 thyroid cancer. After having 2 surgeries, I was told I would be given RAI 131 (Radioactive Iodine) .. For those who don’t know it’s a radiation/chemotherapy in a capsule. I had 2 treatments the 2nd one a larger dose than the first. I was told by the doctors… You will not lose your hair b/c this is not external radiation or chemotherapy but internal. Noone has ever lost their hair while doing this treatment. Since that time, when I wash my hair or comb my hair, it comes out in clumps. There is hair everywhere. On my clothes, on my furniture, in my car, I’m even having to clean it out the washer and dryer everytime I do a load of clothes. I have gotten to the point that I do not know how to fix it b/c it’s so thin and flat it just wont’ fix very well. I’ve been told you only have thyroid cancer.. it’s the best cancer to have. Yet I still have not been told since my last scan that I am cancer free. I used to be a singer and now my vocal cord is paralyzed and I can’t sing any longer and I am always so tired that the doctor has not released to me to go back to work yet. I feel so depressed and lost and confused. The hair thing is so frustrating b/c some days I really think I’d feel better if I just shaved it all off then it would be everywhere.. but then I think well you aren’t really doing chemo like everyone else so you shouldn’t shave your head. I cry all the time and I just need someone to tell me what to do .. Please help me figure things out.
    By the way.. my mom passed away a year ago Sept 27 .. so dealing with this on top of her dying has not been an easy task.

    Sorry for taking up your time..
    Thanks for listening.

    • Nancy

      October 6, 2011

      Teresa, Thank you so much for finding my blog post and for commenting. Of course, you are welcome here! I’m sorry about your cancer diagnosis and there is NO good cancer diagnosis. Remarks like “you only have thyroid cancer,” are very hurtful. About your hair, well, it’s really really tough to lose your hair and I’m surprised you were told you would definitely not lose yours. Every person is different and how they react to treatment is also different. I know it’s really hard to decide on the shaving it off thing, I didn’t right away, but that was me. Do what feels right for you. Depression is very common with cancer patients. Talk to your doctors about it. You don’t need to suffer in silence here. Please get some help. I’m sorry about the loss of your mother and I’m sure that is adding to your stress and sadness. You are not alone and you are not taking up my time. Check out my posts on loss and grief, they may help a tiny bit. Let me know how things go.

    • Shannon

      August 27, 2012

      I’m sorry to hear what you are going through. But I do know what you are going through. I also have very thin hair and have struggled with it for a long time and often cried because I just didn’t know what to do. I pull it back all the time to try and hide it. I have tried a lot of expensive things to keep my hair. Then I was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer and was told I would need chemo now I’m losing it all at day 14. I’m so afraid of what it will look like when it grows back. I have my appt this week to shave my head because I can’t deal with it everywhere!

      • Nancy

        August 28, 2012

        Shannon, Oh my, I hear you on all counts. I’m sorry for your diagnosis. It’s a lot to absorb isn’t it? Good luck moving forward with shaving your hair, chemo and all the rest. Have you checked out my chemo ebook? You might find it helpful. Do keep me posted on things, Shannon. My best.

  • Diane

    November 1, 2011

    I have undergone 2 chemo treatments and my hair is fallling out everywhere, trying to deal with the clumps. Today is the day I will shave it…………..at the hairdressers and use my new wig I’d rather nor suffer every day in the shower, wiping up my beautiful hair. I know it grows back. Chemo is NEW to me….what’s next? What is going to fall off next?

    • Nancy

      November 1, 2011

      Diane, I’m sorry about your cancer and that you must deal with chemo and all that comes with it. It has almost been one year since my husband shaved off my hair, so I understand how you’re feeling today. I’ll be thinking of you. Your hair will grow back. I can’t really say what your side effects will be for sure because everyone reacts differently and it depends on your drugs too. You will get through it. I know it seems like such a long haul and it is, but hang in there. Thanks so much for commenting and good luck with things. Hope to hear from you again, Diane.

  • Katy

    January 24, 2012

    Nancy loved reading your blog about your hair and not shaving. I was told I would lose my hair too. My first round was AC and it took 21 days for my hair to start falling out. I had hair all over the place and it was driving me crazy. I remember thinking early on that I could not just sit around and watch my hair fall out. I was determined to shave my head and one Saturday called a friend who was a stylist. Funny enough she wasn’t available so my hair received a stay. It was over that weekend that I decided to keep the hair I had left and ultimately for me not shaving it allowed me to prepare my for the obvious. That I would lose my hair. Well amazingly I did not lose all of my hair with the AC. Much like you I had just a bit around the ears and some in the back. Just enough for my baseball cap. I had almost a month break from the AC treatments and I am about to take my 6th treatment of Taxol and just the other day I noticed stubble on the top of my head. I’m not sure what’s going on cause I haven’t finished treatments but I’ll take it. I never lost my brows or eyelashes either. So I don’t consider you vain or weak I’d say we do what we have to do to get thru this journey we are on!

    • Nancy

      January 24, 2012

      Katy, It’s funny how you managed to keep some of your hair in the same places that I did. The baseball cap worked really well for me. I only wore wigs when absolutely “necessary” which in reality should have been never, but you know how it is… Good luck finishing up Taxol. Thank you so much for finding my blog and taking time to comment. It’s nice to get feedback and know people are still reading posts I wrote a while ago. I always wonder about that. Hope to see you back soon. I actually have a hair update post coming soon… Good luck with things!! And you’re right, we do what we have to do don’t we?

  • Laura Temkin

    February 2, 2012

    Nancy, just found your blog today, now I’m a fan! I’ve been writing my own blog (not public but Im thinking about making it so) since march 2011 when I was diagnosed with 3C breast cancer. Two surgeries, chemo, and radiation done. Never thought I’d get to this day.
    The hair loss was maybe worse than the chemo for me. Im not really vain at all but it was such an outward sign that I was sick. I found the wig was itchy (but it was nice for when i just wanted to look normal) ,the hats still said chemo (altho this was my solution most of the time, and going out in public bald was too attention getting for me. I also just hated the pity looks. The whole experience made me a little reclusive so I stayed home alot. Thankful for my wonderful husband and my many supportive family and friends who reassured me the baldness didn’t matter to them, and who got such joy when they saw me enjoying anything.
    My doctors and everyone else says we are each unique and there is no RIGHT way to deal with any of this, except that it IS better to deal with it instead of denying ones feelings. I’ve been lucky enough to have good insurance and access to great medical care, not that any of that makes me worry less but it would have been way worse to worry about those things too.
    Sorry this is so long and wordy.

    • Nancy

      February 3, 2012

      Laura, I’m so glad you found my blog and it’s great to hear you are a fan! Thank you for saying that. I know what you mean about the hair loss thing being such an outward sign, the itchy wigs and the wanting to just stay home. I’m glad you have such a supportive husband, family and friends. That certainly helps a lot doesn’t it? I’m a huge believer in respecting everyone’s individual reactions and experiences. We all are indeed unique in how we cope with a cancer diagnosis. I hope you are doing well. I’d like to encourage you to go public with your blog when you’re ready. It’s been a great experience for me so far. Thanks for commenting, not too wordy at all!

  • Donna

    February 12, 2012

    Thanks so much for this wonderful forum to share our experiences! I have already completed three AC chemo treatments with one more to go and then on to 12 Taxol treatments. I have gradually come to accept the hair loss but want others to know that I agree that it is definitely the hardest part of this journey since it is such an outward sign of a personal matter. I would love to know from others though how to deal with the itchiness while wearing a wig. My husband shaved my head 12 days ago and it is smooth where the hair fell out naturally but has a very thin stubble where it was shaved mostly on top. Should he shave the thin stubble again to avoid the sandpaper effect? The friction and itchiness are driving me wild! Also, does anyone have thoughts on how often to wash and style a synthetic wig? This is all new to me!

    I agree that everyone’s experience is different but, I am so anxious to learn when the hair will start to come back and what the entire process is like. I hope you and others will share this experience for those of us a little behind you. Many thanks!

    • Nancy

      February 12, 2012

      Donna, I’m sorry for your diagnosis. Hair loss is really a big deal, but we do adjust to that too don’t we? Have you tried wearing one of those cotton head protectors under your wig? I found them to be helpful. You can get them in the American Cancer society’s TLC catalog. Sadly, wigs just itch I think. Generally, I wore mine for a while, then took it off for a bit, then would wear it again. I only wore one when I felt I had to. As far as washing, I bought wig shampoo. I filled the sink, added a little shampoo, swished the wig around in there, rinsed several times and them set it on its stand to dry. Pretty easy I thought. Good luck with things. Hope the rest of chemo goes alright for you. Your hair should start growing back shortly after finishing chemo, though mine took a while, still coming back slowly. Be patient. Thanks for commenting!

  • Kat

    March 29, 2012

    Hi all, this site came up on a search literally for whether I should shave off all my hair pre-emptively or not! I had my head shaved into a lovely soft buzz right after my first chemo for breast cancer. I love the texture and my radical new look is fun! Now I’m attached to it and, 18 days into the AC, the soft sweetness is coming out in clumps. I’ll see how much washes off in the shower tomorrow and then it’s time for wigs and hats! Cheap and not-too-cheap platinum, ombre, auburn, lion heads, bear ears, cow horns, boy-style sport caps — I’m inspired by everything: new fashion ads with 1920s-style half-hats, female impersonators who pull off looks I’d never dare, silly flower swim caps. I’m no looker! but my sweet friends and boyfriend have been kind about saying I look just like me — just without the long hair I used to have. Now it’s time to look however I want — I hope anyone who’s going through this can share some sense of that support and acceptance I’ve been lucky to receive. You may have cancer but it does not have you! and thanks Nancy for reminding us we are not alone -

    • Nancy

      March 29, 2012

      Kat, Thanks for finding me. I’m so glad you’re taking this time to let loose a little and try some new looks. Good for you! You’re so right, you may have cancer but it does not get to have you! Thanks for commenting. Keep me posted on how you’re doing.

  • miriam

    April 20, 2012

    I was famous for my hair, identified front and back by my hair, hairdressers were asked to color clients hair like mine…I too bought a cute wig in my color and when my hair startedfalling out I raced down to the hairdressers to get shaved-it was like a right of passage and I offically became a chemo patient with my first scar-a shaved head, it was like being a clan member and I derived pride from being hair-free!!! Now it is growing back but no doubt I’ll have to repeat the process down the road of metastatic cancer. SOME WOMEN HAVE GONE THROUGH IT 3 OR MORE TIMES…we really are amazing…

    • Nancy

      April 22, 2012

      Miriam, It’s hard to imagine going through it more than once, but I know many do..amazing indeed. I never felt that pride from being hair free…glad you were able to.

  • miriam

    April 20, 2012

    P.D. shaving doesn’t affect the follicle that produces hair. Chemotherapy “intoxicates” the follicles in 85% of patients. When therapy stops the detoxification process starts slowly and not necesarily in a uniform way. Some continued hormonal treatments like Tamoxifen can also affect regrowth. Thyroid problems are also very related to symetrical hair loss (in animals in symetrical patches long side their bodies)
    This is the first time in 40 years that I have undyed, untreated hair…it’s saltandpeppered, thick and soft but my relation with hair will never be the same…as for eyelashes and eyebrows…well I’ll deal with that hurdle when I get to it-LOL.

    • Nancy

      April 22, 2012

      Miriam, Yes, the hair seems to be affected for quite some time. My “relationship” with my hair is not the same either, not even close. And my brows and lashes have not recovered fully either. I wonder if they will…You’re lucky to have thick soft hair. Salt and pepper sounds like the way to go. Thanks for sharing.

  • Andrea Hutton

    April 25, 2012

    K – I just finished posting on my blog about being two-years out and still dealing with chemo hair issues. I also offer advice about whether or not to shave your head during chemo. Every woman I interviewed suggested I shave it, because having it fall out in clumps is so much more traumatic. Tip of the day – Shave from the back first. WAY less scary then starting at the front. Trust me! Check out my blog at http//:www.baldisbetterwithearrings.com

    • Nancy

      April 25, 2012

      Andrea, I’m still dealing with those hair issues, too, after finishing chemo a year and a half ago. I don’t necessarily agree about sharing it off to prevent trauma. I think each person should decide, not feel pressured to shave it off at any certain time. It’s very personal. For me, waiting was the way to go. For me, that was less traumatic. Everyone needs to decide what feels right for them. Thanks for sharing.

  • pam

    June 17, 2012

    I was just diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma.It nice to see that i’m not the only one worrying about losing my hair.It make me feel alittle better.Glad to find this website.

    • Nancy

      June 17, 2012

      Pam, I’m sorry about your recent diagnosis. No, you are so NOT alone in worrying about the hair. It’s a huge deal. I’m so glad you found my site too. You are not alone in this. Good luck with things and please stop by again soon. My best.

  • Maggie McDee

    July 17, 2012

    I have gone bald 2X. The first time, it was kinda freaky to pull out handfuls of hair, then I was shiny-bald. Last year, the second time, my husband helped me remove a lot of hair with his beard trimmer when it started falling out. After awhile, my head was looking like I had ‘male pattern baldness’. I had hair on the sides and back, but not on top. I read about the Penguin Ice Cap on the internet, then started using a bag of ice on the top of my head during each chemo treatment, and I had a 5 o’clock shadow growing when the dr. changed me over to Xeloda. Now I have lots of salt & pepper hair – more salt than pepper, and I’ve had one haircut. My beautician said it looks like I got a bad perm – kinky in some places, curly in others. I’m just happy to have hair. Switching to a new chemo next week, so I may lose it again. I like wearing a scarf on my bald head and hope summer is over by the time I need to do that again.
    Maggie

    • Nancy

      July 17, 2012

      Maggie, Thank you for sharing about your hair, others will find it so helpful. I know what you mean about just being happy to have hair! Going bald is tough to deal with. Good luck with the new chemo next week. Do keep us posted.

  • Sharon

    August 12, 2012

    Hi Nancy,
    When I looked at your photo, I thought it was ME. I decide not to shave my head and to let it fall out naturally. Your original comments pretty much captured the way I was feeling. Have been wearing a little hat at night to keep the hair off my pillow but the majority comes out when grooming or in the shower.

    Just had second chemo treatment for breast cancer; the really big clumps have just begun falling out. Bought several bandanas online and have been wearing them. People try not to stare but when the heat index is 112 and you have a scarf on it’s pretty hard not to. I know it is kindness driven but when the grocery clerk very kindly asks if you want someone to take your groceries out it makes me want to go home and hide.
    Just switching to wig today in hopes of becoming less noticeable and blend in more. Slapped it on and am hopijng it will endure a brief shopping trip; not a cosmetic kind of thing. My husband is amazed at how real the synthetic wig looks, even with little or no effort, so I may wear it more often. He is very supportive and I often go bare-headed around the house, except with the air conditioning my head sometimes gets cold. I wonder if you can tell me when the eyebrows and lashes fall out. So far mine seem pretty much intact. Hope you and the other bloggers are all doing well and healing. Sharon

    • Nancy

      August 12, 2012

      Sharon, Oh my, your comment about my photo made me smile. It’s always good to hear there are others who took the same path as I did. Yes, after the second chemo is when the hair comes out fast and furiously, at least for most people. I know what you mean about the heat, the bandannas, the stares, the wigs, the cold head – all of it! As for your question about the brows and lashes, all I can say is that my brows hung on for whatever reason. I think they thinned out a little though. My eyelashes didn’t completely disappear, but almost. Maybe yours will hang on, but who knows? Thanks for sharing and keep me posted on how things are going. My best.

  • SUZY

    August 22, 2012

    I was diagnosed with breast cancer on July 17th, 2012. I will begin my first round of chemo next week and was wondering, as everyone else here, about my hair loss. I have never blogged before but was very glad I came across this forum and it has been helpful to read everyone’s comments. I was telling my sons, 9 and 7, about my chemo treatment and my oldest son asked if I was going to shave my head or let the chemo take it slowly. I thought this was a very perceptive question from my child. Then my youngest said “mom I think we should go get haircuts this weekend”. We’ll be bald with you. I know with this kind of sweet love from my children I will endure losing my hair as long as I have their support.

    • Nancy

      August 22, 2012

      Suzy, I’m sorry to hear about your diagnosis. Good luck beginning chemo next week. Your sons sound very perceptive and they’ll be amazingly supportive I’m sure. Their willingness to be bald with you is very sweet. My youngest son shaved his head three times while I was bald. I think it was definitely a way for him to show support. Have you seen my telling the kids about cancer post? I’m so glad you found my blog too and I hope you’ll keep checking in. Thanks so much for your comment. My best.

  • Penny

    September 27, 2012

    I was diagnosed on June 19, 2012 with Stage IV breast cancer at the age of 39. I am on day 15 of my first chemo cycle and my hair is falling out in clumps. My 8 year old wants to see mom bald because she loves all of the scarves I have been practicing with. My 6 year old son, who loves to brush my hair, is my biggest worry. My husband will shave my head this evening. Reading all of your thoughts and advice has given me the strength to do it.

    Thanks.

    • Nancy

      September 27, 2012

      Penny, I’m really sorry about your diagnosis and for all you are dealing with. It’s an awful lot. And losing your hair is pretty traumatic too. It just is. It’s really nice of you to say that reading my thoughts and advice has helped you somewhat. Hearing that means an awful lot to me, it’s why I write this stuff. I will be thinking of you as you go forward. Do keep me posted and I wish you all the best. Thanks so much for commenting.

  • Chrissy

    October 18, 2012

    Nancy,
    I stumbled across your old post when I was googling about hair loss. Stage one breast cancer, diagnosed at 22, no family history. My hair started falling out about 10 days after my first chemo appt. My solution was to first have my hair cut into a faux-hawk then I died the top pink (it is October and to me it meant more than just shaving my head). My fun haircut lasted about a week before I couldn’t take the shedding anymore, so I had a friend shave it off. I feel so free without having to worry about it. And I honestly forget I’m bald until I’m out and people stare. I’m more curious as to whether people realize I’m a cancer patient even though young, think I went crazy like Brittany Spears, or am a cross dresser because I’ve also had a mastectomy so I look fairly flat being on the smaller side anyway. But all of these things make me laugh because no matter what those people think, they don’t have ridiculously smooth armpits like I do.

    Thanks for sharing Nancy!

    • Nancy

      October 18, 2012

      Chrissy, Well thank YOU for sharing. I’m sorry about your diagnosis. It’s terrible what you are dealing with and at such a young age, although cancer is horrible at any age. It’s interesting how you describe the reactions you are getting from people when they see you. Pretty eye opening isn’t it? It’s great to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor. Seriously though, my very best to you as you make your way through the cancer maze. Thanks again for your comments.

  • Caroline

    December 22, 2012

    I shaved my head early and now there are all the little stubbles that hurt and want to come out – besides using the tweezers is there any way to get them out – they hurt when my hat, wig, or scarf rub them

    • Nancy

      December 26, 2012

      Caroline, I’m sorry for your discomfort. I don’t have an answer for your question. Sorry.

  • Rachel Jones

    January 4, 2013

    I had cancer and I shaved my hair off as soon as I got home for the doctor telling me about my cancer. the doctor said it would be easier to do my surgeries and get rid of my cancer if I was bald. I think people who have cancer and stuff like it should shave it all off as soon as they know they have it. bald is awesome and people with hair look ugly. I’m going to be bald the rest of my life because my hair can’t grow back from my cancer and I love it. I’m a girl that’s only 10 and in fifth grade and that get teased for being bald but I love being bald and even if I wanted to grow my hair back I can’t and balds the New style soso why cover my head when I can just follow the latest style.

    • SharonJ

      January 26, 2013

      Dear Rachel – I have cancer too, and will start treatment next week. I know I will lose my hair and was just trying to figure out whether to shave my hair before it falls out. After reading your post I know I will shave it off – and it will be okay. I will be thinking of you when I do it — Thank you so much for making me see that bald really is awesome — and I’ll bet you are one awesome girl!!

  • Nia

    February 15, 2013

    I just finished my first of four rounds of A/C chemo on February 14……what a way to spend Valentines Day. Will be doing 12 rounds of Taxol after that. I am considering having a “Buzz Off” party with my sisters and nieces and just try to decide how soon I need to do this. I want to be the one to decide when my hair comes off and not the cancer!!!

    • Nancy

      February 17, 2013

      Nia, Well, as I said in my post(s) this is a very personal decision. For me, there was no way I was throwing a head-shaving party. That would have been my worst nightmare. I know this does work for many others though. I admire you for taking this route. If it makes you feel more in control, this might be the way for you to go. Everyone handles hair loss a bit differently. I’m sorry you are dealing with it. And yes, chemo on Valentines’ Day – what a way to spend it… Good luck with things, do keep me posted!

  • Margaret

    March 3, 2013

    I was diagnosed with NHL in May 2010. My first thought was well at 72 I had had a full life and my second thought was the I would lose my hair. It was scarey and I really did look like the lady in Shutter Island………but I did find it very liberating as previous people have said and in the grand scheme of things it is a very small detail. The upside to it though that the hair has never grown back under my arms or legs. Sending hugs to all who are living with this dreadful desease x x

    • Nancy

      March 4, 2013

      Margaret, Thanks so much for stopping by. I apologize for asking, but what is NHL? Losing one’s hair is very scary and I don’t actually think it is a small detail. I related so much to that woman in “Shutter Island”! Thanks for the hugs and good wishes. Hope you’re doing well.

  • Tammi Walker

    March 6, 2013

    Hi Everyone, I have enjoyed reading the older comments as well as the current ones. I had cancer and chemo in 2007, I did not shave my hair. I bought a wig right at the start of treatment and I think my hair came out 2 weeks after my first round. I had breast cancer again and this time I need chemo again. I will not shave my hair and I bought two wigs. I just let it all come out on its own and start from scratch. It is sad but buying the wig ahead of time helped me and I usually buy 3 to 4 wigs and try to have fun with it. God bless everyone on here. Be strong. Tammi

    • Nancy

      March 7, 2013

      Tammi, It is really helpful to read all the commments isn’t it? It sounds like you and I handled the hair loss dilemma in a similar fashion. I let mine come out on its own as well. Everyone handles this in their own way too, or certainly should. I’m sorry to hear you’ll be needing chemo once again. Good luck with things and thanks so much for sharing.

  • Susan Zager

    April 26, 2013

    Nancy, I just couldn’t shave my hair off. I kept on to anything I could. When my hair fell off I had about 30 strands of dead blond hair and every time I took my wig off the static from the strands of hair I had left made me look and feel like a freak. I just couldn’t shave it. I was sweating so much under my wig and when I wore my comfy cotton hat at least the itching didn’t get to me too bad. Although it might have looked better shaved it just wasn’t for me. You have to do what makes you most comfortable.You just have to keep on keeping….Love, Hugs and XoXoXo – Susan

    • Nancy

      April 29, 2013

      Susan, I couldn’t shave mine off either when it started falling out. I waited until I was completely finished with chemo and that worked best for me. You do have to do what feels right for you. Thanks so much for sharing about your experience.

  • Diane

    April 27, 2013

    They told me my hair would fall out on day 14 of FAC, at which point it did indeed begin to fallout in clumps. Always had a high desire to look like Demi Moore in G.I. Jane so I went to Super Cuts and got a Mohawk, videotaped it for my family back in Ohio. After spiking it up and taking plenty of pictures of this “once in a lifetime” venture she shaved it off leaving a thin layer of peach fuzz. Needless to say the next day I had the dog clipper out to shave this off because I was leaving tinny little hairs all over the place.

    • Nancy

      April 29, 2013

      Diane, Yes, it would be nice to look as good as G.I. Jane wouldn’t it? It was gutsy of you to video tape your Mohawk cut. I didn’t even take many photos during the hair loss and bald time. It was a pretty traumatic time for me. Thanks so much for sharing how you handled the hair.

  • Linda

    June 28, 2013

    Just started chemo last week and very anxious about hair loss. Wanted to shave before it started but was too nervous to get on with it. Reading all the comments helped me to think through what to do and will now book my hairdresser to whip it off. Good luck to all and thanks.

    • Nancy

      July 1, 2013

      Linda, I understand completely. It’s normal to feel anxious about hair loss. Who wouldn’t feel that way? I’m glad reading through the comments has been helpfu. Good luck to you as you move through chemo. Keep me posted.

  • Lee

    July 16, 2013

    For those who are facing the beginning of chemo and wondering what to expect:

    I’ve just finished my 6th and last round of Taxol/carbo for endometrial cancer (Type II, Grade II, stage IIIa, metastasised to an ovary, the bastard). My hair before chemo was down to my waist, over a metre long, thick and blonde and lovely even though I’m 57. It was the first thing my partner fell in love with when he met me.

    So I had to go through the Do I? Don’t I? conundrum as well. I considered the ice-pack on the scalp idea, but nixed it as being extremely uncomfortable, with no guaranteed results, and the added chance I’d be giving the cancer a place to hide.

    One nurse said maybe don’t cut it off; I might be lucky and it could just ‘thin’ out and come back. My oncologist – blunt woman that she is – told me no chance, not on Taxol. So I went and had it all very carefully cut off, vidoed it, put the whole thing up on a blog as well. One wigmaker kindly offered me $100 for it, because it isn’t virgin, only good for highlights in extensions. I did thank her, but the six carefully bound metre-long ropes of hair are packed away in tissue paper in an antique box. I have no idea what I’ll do with them, but it seemed important to keep them. Maybe commission someone to make hair jewelry… who knows?

    What was left was a short do, about three inches long, but nice… that lasted maybe a week. Documented that, too, as it came out in fistfuls, drainfuls in the shower, came out in chunks in the hairbrush. I’m glad I didn’t listen to the nurse who said it might ‘thin’ – my oncologist was right. I look a bit like Gollum, except he’s got more hair, straggly bits I’d comb over a la Donald Trump, peeking out under a scarf to give the rather pathetic illusion there’s actually more underneath. Over the chemo sessions, even that got thinner and thinner. Bald patches above my ears that make the plastic arms of my glasses stick to the skin, yuck. Odd prickly bits sticking up on the crown. And a very sensitive scalp that made wearing wigs pretty much an impossibility.

    After awhile, you’ll just stop caring, because you’ll go too numb and miserable if you do. If someone has a problem with it, that’s their problem – I’ve got enough on my own plate, thanks. My job is to get through whatever it takes to survive, and get my life back. I don’t have the time or energy to worry about what strangers think… , well, not too much, anyway.

    But just before my last chemo, I noticed some very fine baby fuzz, almost colourless, starting to grow out the barren follicles between the last of the hangers-on. Not sure if I was seeing things, I asked my partner, who doesn’t do the ‘sure, honey, looks great!’ type of lying very well. I can trust him to tell the truth, whether I want him to or not. And he verified I wasn’t seeing things – BEFORE the last chemo, I’d already started growing some hair!

    My joy (and worry – if the hair is capable of growing back during chemo, will the cancer?) has had a bit of cold water dashed on it. The gloomy oncologist confirmed that, yes, this was a common occurrence. But all this new baby fuzz would probably fall out, too, before my ‘proper’ hair started growing back. Along with any eyelashes remaining. And, no, growing hair during chemo wasn’t an indication it wasn’t working.

    Ah well. The chemo is over as of yesterday. Now I get to start the process of waiting for my hair to grow back. I figure the monthly process will go something like this: Cancer Girl, Still Cancer Girl, Cancer Girl with 5 o’clock shadow, Lesbian Dyke do, Lesbian Dyke’s Girlfriend’s do, and at month six I’ll finally have something that doesn’t shock the neighbour’s kids anymore. I just really want enough to be able to have enough hair to be able to sleep at night without a fleece baby blanket over the top of my head to keep it warm enough – caps just didn’t work.

    So – there’s my history for women looking for guidance. Yes, cutting your hair off will hurt you right down to the bone before the chemo strips you bald. That hurt lasts a long time, but it does lessen a lot as you do start to get used it – and it does help if you’ve got a loving partner who doesn’t give a damn if you’re bald, he/she loves you anyway. Wear a wig, if that helps, caps or scarves as it suits, or just walk around with it bald if it’s more comfortable that way. It’s YOUR bloody cancer, do what makes YOU feel best. By the end of chemo, all you’re going to want is for the rest of the side-effects to go away, get the feeling in your fingers and toes back, be able to taste your food the way it should again, the oedema in your feet to stop making you walk funny, the aches in your joints and your muscles, the ‘chemo-gut’ that wreaks havoc on your digestive system, gargling with salt water three times a day, losing the ability to remember the simplest things, wild vivid weird dreams when you can sleep at all, the broken thermostat that makes your body hot and sweaty and five minute later you’re freezing again, feeling constantly tired and freaking clerks out at Bunnings when you decide to have a quick snooze in the outdoor furniture display area before you fall down. And that’s not even the complete list. Hair will end up being the least of your concerns.

    But I highly recommend living it in the open, make jokes in the supermarket. I spotted a young mum with a tiny baby this morning, and laughed. ‘Your baby has more hair than I do!’ She laughed as well – turns out her mum had breast cancer, two years now and NED, and was surprised when her normally curly hair grew back straight! The woman behind us chimed in – hers came in curly when the original was straight!

    You’ll find living in open will not only educate you very fast that cancer is everywhere, you are far, far, FAR from being alone, it makes those around you more comfortable with it, and in turn makes you more comfortable.

    That’s my advice. Free and worth every penny. :)

    • Nancy

      July 17, 2013

      Lee, Thanks so much for your in-depth comment! Sharing is helpful for all of us.

  • Elizabeth

    July 21, 2013

    I did not shave my hair. I just couldn’t. I did have a beautician I know give me a cute short haircut. My hair was very long and she invited me to her home to do it privately. The next morning however, it came out by the handfuls, so I popped on the wig.
    By the way, a friend whose religion requires her to cover her hair in public after marriage, loaned me a nice wig and some really cute scarves. She gave them to me just before I started chemo. And she showed me creative ways to tie them, too. Somehow, coming from her, they seemed more normal and less like a cancer thing.

    • Nancy

      July 22, 2013

      Elizabeth, I couldn’t shave mine off either. I waited til chemo was all over, so guess I sort of did things backwards. It worked for me. Your friend sounds wonderful – so thoughtful and generous. Thank you for sharing about your experience with hair loss.

  • Mary

    February 22, 2014

    I was wondering if most people shave their heads. I’m at 3 of 4 Chemo treatments and still haven’t lost all my hair. I like you compared myself to the Shutter Island character, my husband and I try to keep finding the humor in this journey. Just last night I said I was now looking like an old man with sparse hair and a little belly accentuated by the lack of breasts! I just told my son that after chemo ends next month I will also shave my head and start the “re-birth” with a clean slate. Thanks for your blog.

    • Nancy

      February 23, 2014

      Mary, It can be helpful to use humor, but don’t minimize your losses. Giving up body parts and losing your hair is hard and you should be allowed to grieve for the losses. Many people do shave their heads, but not everyone does. Do what feels right to you. Thank you for reading and sharing. My best to you.

  • Carole

    May 16, 2014

    I visited a wig store today to prepare myself with no hair and kind of got excited about wearing some of the beautiful hair… The hard part of chemo is the hard chemical infused in my body not shaving my head…

    • Nancy

      May 16, 2014

      Carole, It is scary thinking about introducing harsh chemicals into one’s body isn’t it? And then when you actually do it… It’s all hard and for me losing my hair was horribly tough. Thanks for reading and commenting.

      • Carole

        May 16, 2014

        Thanks for your reply, the many letters were very helpful…Carole

  • Madeline

    July 10, 2014

    My hair currently looks like your pic. I keep going back n forth about shaving my head. Unfortunately I’ll be on my chemo pill for an extended period. I have thyroid cancer and i’m non avid. I’ve purchased a wig and finally wore it to work yesterday. I felt uncomfortable all day. I prefer to just wear a baseball cap. I’m glad I’m not the only one trying to make a decision about their hair.

    • Nancy

      July 10, 2014

      Madeline, My hair still causes me much angst every day. I am on an AI now and the hair thinning/loss is no fun at all. I almost always resort to my baseball cap collection too. They are a Godsend. Trouble is, you can’t live in them or wear them everywhere! Oh well. Thanks for reading and sharing. And no, you’re not the only one…

Leave a comment


Name

Email(will not be published)

Website

Your comment